The boss of City Pub Group has hailed the return of the Friday night pint after the London-based chain reported a jump in revenues.
The firm, whose sites include Three Crowns on Old Street, Temple Brew House on The Strand and The Cock & Bottle in Notting Hill, said sales were up 7.8% on pre-pandemic levels in the run up to Christmas, after getting a boost from a renaissance of office parties and the unusually-timed winter World Cup.
City Pub Group CEO Clive Watson told the Standard: “We’ve certainly seen Fridays get stronger – people are coming into the office more and more, and even if you’re working from home people still like to come into the City on a Friday evening to have fun.
“Unless you’re in the pocket of the financial services sector in the Square Mile – and even that is coming back – London is well and truly back on Fridays.”
He added: “I think there’s more confidence about going out to pubs – the whole Covid thing is in the distant past [and] people need to socialise and have some fun.”
The firm also said it had seen a surge in footfall from students, and sounded an upbeat note on energy costs, which had started to subside.
But the group warned it had suffered a blow from a spate of industrial action, recording a £750k hit from rail strikes, which wiped out around 3.5% of its revenues in the fourth quarter.
Watson said: “We would have had a record week had it not been for the strikes – which also had an effect on staff bonuses and tips.”
Watson urged union bosses and government ministers to come to an agreement to end industrial action, adding: “Given all we’ve faced over the last three years we’ve got to pull together.”
City Pup Group shares climbed 1.7% to 76p.